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Most of Quebec’s long guns still unregistered with deadline fast approaching

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The deadline for Quebecers to register their firearms is just over two weeks away, but the vast majority of guns in the province remain unregistered.

Quebec’s Public Security Ministry says that 311,451 of the province’s unrestricted firearms, which include hunting rifles, carbines and other long guns, have been registered so far.

That’s up from 294,125 before the holidays, but is still less than 20 per cent of the 1.6 million firearms that were registered in the province when the federal registry was in effect.

Ministry employees were at a gun show this weekend in Longueuil, south of Montreal, providing information and paperwork to gun owners so that they can register by the Jan. 29 deadline.

Firearms can be registered by mail or online. The process is free. Once the weapons are registered, gun owners will have 90 days to affix a serial number to them. 

Steve Torino, the director of security for the Lower Canada Arms Collectors Association, which put on the exhibition, says that the percentage of gun owners in compliance is likely even lower than 19 per cent. 

More guns around since federal registry scrapped

Gun dealers, he says, account for a large share of the firearms already registered. He also estimates the number of firearms in Quebec has risen to about two million since the federal registry was scrapped six years ago.

“It’s already been tried once,” said Torino of the registry. “It didn’t work and it cost them an enormous amount of money.”

Steve Torino, director of security for the Lower Canada Arms Collectors Association, says the registry is ineffective and expensive. (CBC Montreal)

His organization, which is made up of collectors and focuses on historical firearms, is encouraging gun owners to comply with the new law.

But he says he also supports the efforts of groups such as the National Firearms Association, which is lobbying against the law and is calling for gun owners to wait until the last minute to register their guns as a means of protest.

Some call for boycott of registry

Other gun owners have taken to social media to call for a complete boycott of the provincial registry.

“You’re targeting the wrong audience,” said Torino. He argues that people using guns for criminal purposes will not register their weapons anyway, and that gun owners already undergo a thorough federal licensing process.

Guillaume Harmant is currently going through that licensing process. He said he didn’t have much of an interest in guns until he joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

“It’s a sport. It’s an outdoor activity like anything else for me,” he said.

He says those in favour of a provincial registry are likely not informed about the background checks involved in getting a firearm licence in Canada, and are instead thinking about the relatively lax gun laws in many U.S. states.

Guillaume Harmant is in the process of obtaining a licence to own unrestricted firearms. (CBC Montreal)

“I think it’s a safe process,” he said. But once he’s legally able to own a gun, he plans on registering his firearms with the Quebec government.

“Yes it is a really dangerous object. It is designed to kill things. But registering the firearm doesn’t make it more safe,” he said.

Those who do not register their firearms by the deadline can face fines of up to $5,000.

Gun-control advocates, such as survivors of the Polytechnique shooting of 1989, are urging the provincial government to enforce the law once it goes into effect at the end of the month.

They argue the registry will help law enforcement learn more about where guns come from that are used in violent crimes.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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